Lessons Learned: Offense

Today we close the chapter on the lessons learned series of posts as we look back at the offense. Once again, we'll take look back at the season preview and then see if we're geniuses or more than likely, fools.

Top scorers (points based):


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Pavel Datsyuk 80 27 43 70 17 18 9 0 3 0 203 13.3
2009 - Henrik Zetterberg 74 23 47 70 12 26 3 0 6 0 309 7.4
2009 - Tomas Holmstrom 68 25 20 45 5 60 13 0 5 0 131 19.1
2009 - Todd Bertuzzi 82 18 26 44 -7 80 4 0 4 0 216 8.3
2009 - Valtteri Filppula 55 11 24 35 -4 24 1 1 1 0 114 9.6

 

Season preview--strengths:

Offense: The success of this offense lies with two guys-- Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are ferocious forecheckers and create opportunities in the offensive zone that shouldn't be there. By controlling the puck, they are able to feed their linemates or fire on goal themselves. Although we will probably see them paired together at some point, they are both great anchors for the top two lines. They both have similar lines with Holmstrom/Bertuzzi in front of the net and Franzen/Cleary as shooters so their point production should be high again. Johan Franzen will likely continue his high level of play but look for guys like Valtteri Filppula and Ville Leino to break out as secondary scorers in the absence of Jiri Hudler and Mikael Samuelsson. Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves could play great roles within the offense but I don't expect incredible seasons out of them just yet. Scoring depth and puck possession have been the main focus of the Red Wings in the past and there's no reason for it to change now.

"Success of this offense lies with two guys--Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk" and that couldn't have been more true this year. The two were the leaders of the offense and the team seemingly succeeded when they succeeded and faltered when they faltered. "Johan Franzen will likely continue his high level of play" well...when he came back from injury that was true. "Look for guys like Valtteri Filppula and Ville Leino to break out as secondary scoring" Filppula, yes. Leino, not until he went to Philly. "Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves could play great roles within the offense but I don't expect incredible seasons out of them just yet" Helm and Eaves were fantastic by the Zetterberg/Datsyuk standards but they don't have to be. 11 and 12 goals for Helm and Eaves respectively showed they're capable of being great assets to the offense in addition to their penalty killing and defensive play. "Scoring depth and puck possession have been the main focus...no reason for it to change now." there's no reason for it to change but it did. The scoring depth was well...not that deep and the puck possession (mainly in the faceoff dot) was not great either. Chalk that up to the turnover from last year's roster via free agency and the injuries during the season.

More after the jump

I think this season is truly a testament to how great Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are. They didn't have normal years by their standards but they were still exceptional factors for a team that struggled to score goals at times. Datsyuk was called on to be the goal scorer instead of the disher and it worked to a degree. The two had to deal with constantly changing linemates due to injury or illness yet were able to put up respectable numbers. The emerging big gun Johan Franzen was out of the picture for the majority of the season but upon his return (and angry post-Olympic Datsyuk) the team started to rally offensively. I honestly think Zetterberg has been hampered by that shoulder injury all season long so the fact that he still produced like he did was amazing. Datsyuk created his own chances and chances for others by being a pick-pocket in the offensive zone and drawing multiple defenders at other times. Stats sometimes lie as to how a player has performed over the course of a season and that is definitely the case this season with Zetterberg and Datsyuk.

Season preview--weaknesses:

Offense: Well the loss of 88 goals, or nearly 30% of last year's production, is nothing to be overlooked by any means. Hossa was an elite scorer for the Red Wings and Hudler/Samuelsson were great playmakers. I don't know if the addition of Bertuzzi, Williams, and Eaves is enough to make up for that departure but they also may not need to if the identity of this year's team is focused on better defense rather than trying to outscore everyone. Another thing running through my mind is whether or not Tomas Holmstrom will be back to top form or somewhere close. If he's not close, the offense might sputter for a while before finding a new alternative. Good thing there's great scoring depth all the way down to the 4th line right?

"Well the loss of 88 goals, or nearly 30% of last year's production, is nothing to be overlooked by any means" and that' was something that really hurt the offense. The goals for dropped from 295 in 08-09 to 229 in 09-10, a drop of 66 goals for. "I don't know if the addition of Bertuzzi, Williams, and Eaves is enough to make up for that departure" I speak the troof. "...may not need to if the identity of this year's team is focused on better defense" Silly, silly me: better defense?! "Another thing running through my mind is whether or not Tomas Holmstrom will be back to top form or somewhere close." Man, Homer was back in top form, for sure (as he'd say). Third highest goal total of his career (25) and in only 68 games-- not bad. "Good thing there's great scoring depth all the way down to the 4th line right?" I could say that this was both true and false. We had guys that came up from the AHL that played well but others that were with us the whole year and didn't produce much. Oh well.

Verdict: The offense was atrocious at times and the scoring was not there in times that it was needed the most. The good thing is that when healthy and with the full squad, the offense was pretty solid. Franzen showed how much of an impact he has on the team immediately upon his return and in the playoffs. I think he was a big missing factor for the offense this year as he likes to shoot the puck and he creates his own space with his size. The offense was putrid at times but also incredible and that's where the downfall was: inconsistency.

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